Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.
Chinese worker fined $145K over VPN
An unnamed individual in China was fined 1.06 million yuan ($144,907) for using a virtual private network (VPN) to access restricted websites as part of a remote work routine for a foreign employer.
According to local media reports from earlier this week, during his employment as a consultant between 2019 to 2022, the unnamed individual accessed GitHub to view source code, answered questions in customer support, held teleconferences via Zoom and posted multiple threads on Twitter with the help of a VPN.
The administrative penalty decision finding that the consultant used electrical equipment “without authorization for non-legal international networking.” (China Digital Times)
Based on a document issued by the city of Chengde Police, the individual’s income earned with the aid of a VPN was deemed as “proceeds of crime.” The police issued a penalty of $144,097, equivalent to three years of the individual’s salary.
Chinese law prohibits the use of VPNs to bypass the country’s “Great Firewall” that blocks popular sites such as Google, Wikipedia and Facebook. The ruling has spooked many in China’s IT and Web3 circles, who often rely on VPNs for similar remote-work tasks.
City of Hangzhou airdrops 10M digital yuan
The city of Hangzhou is airdropping 10 million digital yuan central bank digital currency, worth a total of $1.37 million, to incentivize food and beverage spending as it hosts the 19th Asian Games.
Anyone within the municipality of Hangzhou, locals and visitors alike, can receive the airdrop for use in food delivery platforms. Individuals can receive up to three vouchers that reimburse merchants in digital yuan for up to 20% to 30% of the value of food items after purchase.
The airdrop will renew every five days until the balance is emptied. The vouchers are only effective for five days and can only be…